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Swim Tip of the Week
Last Week's Tip of the Week
Waves Swim School Provides Private Swim Lessons in Columbia, South Carolina.
What is the best floatation device for my child in the water?
There are literally hundreds of floatation devices that you can purchase at almost any store in the summertime; Some are cute, some are elaborate, some promise to help your child swim, and some cost less than $2.00.  The floatation that I recommend is the cheapest.  NONE.  The best way to teach your child how to swim is without a floatation device.  If you stay in the water with your child, you will not only create a better environment for your child in the water, but it will create a bonding event as well. 

Now I know that it is necessary to purchase a floatation device for your child.  The best device is..... a lifejacket.  Lifejackets are made to save lives.  A child can still drown in a lifejacket, but they are the safest device in the water. 

When purchasing a lifejacket, look for these things:

-U.S. Coast Guard approved label.

-A snug fit. Check weight and chest size on the label and try the PFD on your child right at the store. Pick up your child by the shoulders of the PFD; and tell them to raise their arms and relax. The child's chin and ears won't slip through a properly fitting vest. Do NOT buy a vest that is too large, hoping the child will grow into it.

-Head support for younger children. A well designed PFD will support the child's head when the child is in the water. The head support also serves to roll the child face up.

-A strap between the legs for younger children.

Take some time to make sure that the lifejacket you purchase is safe for your child, and both of you will have a better experience in the water. 

***No floatation device 100% prevents water acccidents.  Always watch children continuously in the water. 
Why Private Lessons over Group Lessons, aren't they more expensive and cover the same things?

I started teaching when I was 16 for the Red Cross.  My first job was working full time teaching group lessons making $6.00 per hour.  I taught a lot of kids that summer.  I observed a couple of key things.  First of all, there are some students who do very well with group lessons.  Unfortunately, there are some that do not.  In a typical group lesson, the instructors instruct the group how to perform a skill, then each person attempts the skill with an instructor.  Between skills, each student may practice the skill or watch the others while they attempt the skill with an instructor.  Each student may only receive instruction 15-20% of the lesson time.  The group must move to another skill, even if an individual student hasn't mastered the first skill.  This is where private lessons excel.  If a student has trouble on a particular skill, the instructor can work on that
skill until the student has mastered it.  In any group, some kids are more advanced than the group, and
some are slower.  This is the nature of group lessons.
Secondly, parents like to schedule lessons with their friends and kids who are friends with each other. 
This is great fellowship for parents, but sometimes embarrassing to the kids.  If two kids are best friends,
and one "catches on" to a skill faster than another, it can hurt the slower student's self-esteem. 
Thirdly, in a group lesson, the instructor is never completely comfortable with each individual student. 
Why?  because they always have to keep an eye on the rest of the group to keep them safe.  They can
never truly focus on one student at a time. 
Lastly, yes, private lessons are more expensive, but play some math with me for a second.  A typical
group lesson is 45 minutes long with 5 sessions.  An average cost is $60.  If each students get's 20%
individual instruction time per lesson, that averages out to 9 minutes per lesson.  The rest of the time they are
either practicing, or sitting on the wall, or playing a game with the group.   That means over the course of a
group session, each student gets about 45 minutes of true instruction time.  Parents spend $60 on a total of 45 minutes.  For the same $60, a parent can sign their kids up for private lessons and get 3 lessons, or 90 minutes of instruction time. For the same cost, they are getting twice the instruction. 
All of Waves Swim School instructors have taught group lessons, but all of them understand this value concept and embrace the fact that private lessons are the best way to teach students how to swim.  We believe that the experience is best for the students and instructors. 
By the way, I have two toddlers and I know that seeing 5 kids of the same age together in one group at a lesson are truly polaroid moments.  If you want to take some pictures of kids kicking together in a group, let us know.  We can arrange that...